The Dementia Australia Research Foundation recently announced more than $1 million in research funding as part of their Dementia Grants Program – Round 2.
New, early and mid-career researchers were invited to apply for up to thirteen $75,000 capacity building project grants and, for the first time, the Foundation is also supporting up to two, $30,000 Training Fellowships. These Fellowships are for Australian-based health professionals undertaking projects in any area of dementia research. The award aims to build capacity in dementia research by encouraging health professionals to develop ideas that will ultimately improve outcomes for people living with dementia, their carers and families.
Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation Scientific Panel, Professor Velandai Srikanth, said that busy health professionals need support to launch a career in the dementia research space.
“The Training Fellowship may be used by the applicant to cover clinical time to focus on a specific research project and receive mentoring by an experienced dementia researcher or team. It is hoped that through this initiative, health professionals will consider dementia research as an integral part of their professional career and produce outputs that will improve their competitiveness for further grant or postgraduate scholarship funding in the field,” Professor Srikanth said.
There are currently more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia with a cost to the economy of $15 billion in 2018 alone. Without a major research breakthrough, the number of people living with dementia is set to increase to approximately 1.1 million by 2056, with an estimated cost to the economy of $36.85 billion.
As there is not yet a cure for dementia, research grants are vital to bringing us closer to a better understanding of the disease and finding meaningful interventions to improve future outcomes for people living with dementia, their carers and family. It is only through the generosity of donors and fundraisers that the Dementia Australia Research Foundation is able to grow capacity in dementia research through funding Australia’s best and brightest early career researchers.
Dr Caroline Bull, who in 2015 was awarded a $50,000 Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care, said that it is very difficult for early career researchers to be competitive with the main funding bodies meaning that new ideas may not get recognised.
“It’s so important for early career researchers to be supported – primarily so that bodies such as the Dementia Australia Research Foundation can tap into the energy and new ideas of early career researchers but also to support these researchers establish their careers,“ Dr Bull said.
The grant round has now closed and outcomes will be announced in December 2018.